The way we love: How Our Charism and our Values Shape Our Ministries
About Cabrini Ministries Eswatini
Cabrini Ministries is a faith based community care organization serving the Lubombo Lowveld with a mission to share the love of Jesus Christ by promoting the well-being of individuals and families through comprehensive integrated health care, education and social services to the most poor and vulnerable. The first Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus arrived in Eswatini (then called ‘Swaziland’) in 1971. They came to demonstrate the love of Christ to the people of the Lubombo lowveld. Cabrini Ministries was registered as a Not for Profit organization in 2006 even though the work of the missionary Sisters started in 1971 when they arrived in the country. To this day we continue the Cabrinian Charism by serving the needs of the people, and doing so with the intelligent love of Christ.
How We Demonstrate Love Through our Interventions
Our interventions in education aim to promote opportunities for all community members, through education, training and livelihoods. They increase students learning outcomes at various levels especially early grade reading achievement (of the primary age population), and increasing the workforce skills, and the employability skills of youth.
Our health care services aim to improve the well-being of the communities we serve, and mitigate the negative effects of HIV/AIDS, TB and other infectious diseases. As a result of our work, the communities we serve will live quality and productive lives.
Our family services intervention aims to deliver focused, sustainable and quality case management service with a particular lens on child welfare within the family setting, and protection including against gender-based violence (GBV). Guided by an overall psychosocial support (PSS) approach, our interventions emphasize 3 key methodologies in its service delivery:
- community and family-centred response;
- assessment-based interventions; and
- comprehensive and integrated services. Our work contributes to harmonized case management, service provision and increased coordination with other stakeholders.
How Our Vision, Mission and Values Shapes What We Do
Vision – Restoring Life (Kubuyisela Imphilo). This is more than words, it serves as a constant reminder that we need to see every person as a child of God who needs care and love. Our unconditional love and dedication to service delivery has ensured fulfilment of our vision. Cabrini’s work in Health Care, Education, and Family Services has increased the quality of life of our beneficiaries. The impact of COVID-19 immeasurably reversed gains made in almost every area of human development. We see food insecurity, children disillusioned and out of school, youth sexual exposure, incomes lost, families in financial distress. We go on in faith, Hebrews 11 says ‘Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.’ We believe, if we act in love guided by purpose, we will see life restored once again. We rely on research, experience, and knowledge to create solutions for the newest threats to life. During this time of pandemic, our clinic became COVID-19 safe as we took the necessary precautions as stipulated by the World Health Organisation (WHO), and actively screened and managed many cases. Our social services team worked to meet needs virtually to protect clients. Our pre-school went mobile, and taught families COVID-19 prevention, as well as delivering weekly home-classes to 72 pupils. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, our clinic has vaccinated clients over 18yrs for COVID-19, and we have not stopped serving thousands of patients for common illnesses, maternal and child health, HIV and TB, non-communicable diseases, malaria & other tropical diseases, prevention of cervical cancer, and referrals for tertiary care. We have found that team debriefing, group training, staff mission integration, and wellness assistance have all supported staff to remain strong in the front lines. Many NGO’s are focussed on targets, whereas Cabrini is focused on caring for souls, and through this we endeavour to reach all our targets set.
Mission – Cabrini Ministries has a mission to share the love of Jesus Christ, by promoting the well-being of individuals and families through comprehensive integrated health care, education and social services to the most poor and vulnerable. This mission is the compass by which we plan and implement services. This is not a human task, as the love of Jesus is immeasurably more than we can even imagine. But inspired by the Holy Spirit we continue to seek to respond to the wounds of humanity. In these most unprecedented times when fear and confusion has tempted us all, we have witnessed and supported some of the first responders to Covid-19. Their bravery, sacrifice, and steadfast care for the patients who poured in during each wave of Covid-19 was a truly inspiring example of our Cabrinian mission in action. When some NGO’s closed, CME safely continued to love.
The Values of Cabrini Ministries are a true encouragement as to why the Cabrinian Charism is needed alongside smart solutions. Here they are listed in English and Siswati, with a recent example of how we are seeing this demonstrated in our everyday experiences:
Hope – Kwetsemba: This is the feeling mothers have when they see the amazing progress their children with disabilities have made, under the care of our physiotherapist, and with support from our sign language specialists.
Mercy – Sihawu: This can be seen in our social workers’ motivation as they fight for birth certificates, and the rights of the children and mothers in the communities we serve.
Passion – Kutinikela: This is demonstrated in our masked pre-school teachers, who drove hundreds of miles on dirt roads in utility vans to bring boxes of books for their young pupils, ensuring them the opportunity to learn while isolated at home, and essentially to know they are loved and thought of in the midst of a global pandemic.
Quality – Lizinga: The conviction of our laboratory staff who took on COVID-19 testing in the second wave, and never waivered or stopped providing all other forms of testing.
Justice – Ubulungiswa: This is evidenced through our consistent efforts to care for victims of gender-based violence, neglect and other forms of abuse.
Respect / Empathy – Ubuntu: This means I am because you are. Your joy is my joy. Your suffering is mine also. This is the essence of why the Cabrinian Charism will always be needed in the delivery of essential services to restore the broken.
All of these examples entail seeing and attending to the ‘whole person’, continually extending ourselves beyond the call of duty, and imagining how we would like to be treated in those circumstances. Our interventions and organisational development are based on research, and recognised good practices, and we partner with the community, government, and other key stakeholders in all we do. While challenges remain, we have seen our communities go from crisis mode to a much healthier, functional community. In the years Cabrini has been serving the people of St Philips the staff have watched HIV go from a disease that was robbing every family of life to a condition that can be managed for life. The areas we serve have changed through people receiving quality healthcare, transforming them from places where people were unwell and no-one had income, to healthy, economically active hubs.
This is how intelligent love is at work through our approach and our Cabrini staff, as we serve and care for the people in the rural lower Lumbombo lowveld. If you would like to learn more about us, or support the work we are doing, please visit www.cabriniministries.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Facebook page: Cabrini Ministries Swaziland.
Written by Mzamo Sikhondze| Deputy Executive Director, Cabrini Ministries Eswatini